They Will Know You By Your Hate
At the end of this week’s Another Empty Conversation #ec1dot19 I read Mathew 18:21-35 and Josh *Boomed* and Sarah *dropped the mic* afterwards. Why? Because Christians who say that they have received the forgiveness that God offers have forgotten their own forgiveness when it comes to forgiving others. Christians are more known for their hate than their love, which is strange when the Bible says that Christians will be know for their love. (Please do not think that I am implying that I am or any of the Empty Church crew are some how exempt from the state of affairs. That is why we are talking about this subject.)
In Luke 7:36-50 Jesus makes the point that those who have a large debt that canceled probably will appreciate it more than one who had a smaller debt canceled. In come Christians. Their belief is that Jesus’ death and resurrection has given them the ultimate forgiveness and yet just like the servant in Matthew 18, many Christians are calling in other people’s debts rather than pointing people towards the Master who forgives debts.
Although it would be wrong to emphasize a forgiveness that enables people to sin boldly taking forgiveness for granted, the other extreme is to make Jesus and His forgiveness out of reach for those who may need Him most. Jesus says it Himself that sick people are the ones who need a doctor. A ramification of this statement is that healthy people often do not even think that they need a doctor. In our case, Christians who say that they have the Doctor and are now “well” often go out of their way to keep those who are “sick” away from the Doctor saying that they need to become well before they can see the Doctor.
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It is for this reason that there seems to be a falling out, the cracking of the window pane if you will, between churches and society. There has been a message that as long as you go to church while you break all the same rules that the church is outspoken against, you are among the well and not sick, but it is quite the opposite. Many people are in a hospital, hearing the the treatments that the Doctor proposes but then never receive the treatment. (note: I don't believe that we should have a “come to church to get saved” attitude when everyone who claims to follow Jesus is in fact the Church and the "church" building is a place where people apart of the Church happen to meet together.) Some of these people are dying in a hospital knowing of a treatment that has a 100% success rate.
Why would anyone consider a treatment that the proponents of the treatment do not even take?
So they don’t, which makes churches press harder against the glass, fracturing it further. Now people speak of a great falling away and a post-christian society, all while churches continue to do the same things that people don't trust.
How do we fix the glass?
You don’t. At least not for everyone. I believe that we will have to live with a cultural distaste for the Church because of what churches have done and by churches I mean the imperfect people within them. Probably for the foreseeable future. We are all guilty of this travesty and all to blame, but it is time to move on. Stop being mad at people for being mad at their idea of church when there are plenty of examples supporting their plight. Stop hurting those who are showing signs of hurt; why do you think they are mad at the Church in the first place? They were hurt by a church.
What do we do? Give up?
We have to give up all the things that we have been holding onto instead of God. It is time for healing. Jesus broke the rules A LOT to show that we are sick and that the rules don't make us better but show us that we are sick just for us to make new rules around Him? We have to give it all up.
- No more tricks. People want something real. Not something made to “look” real. There are too many other things to try when what churches are offering seems to be fake. "Authentic" and "Relevant" are the new buzz words, but we've only copied other people while failing to represent God authentically.
- No more hypocritical hate. I do believe that God tells us to hate evil. Many Christians would say that the things they are speaking out against are evil, but I want Christians to speak out against the hidden things everyone lets slide.
- No more doing it one way because it’s always been that way. I hope that Empty Church never becomes so solidified in one method that it fails to change what we are doing if and when God calls for us to.
Just have conversations. Have the hard conversations. Nothing is off limits as long as it is done with love and truth (and our Rules for Discussion).
Somewhere along the way it became more about the control through methodology and theology than it was about spreading the true good news of forgiveness in Jesus. True forgiveness requires love and if love can be seen in Jesus but not in His followers doubt is cast on the love and forgiveness that Jesus offers.
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